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October 2011

(Dedications)

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes drive
across the plains' enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
                     up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the infatida.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because eve the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace bside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
                     hand
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know hich words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, tor
                     between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there here you have landed, stripped as you are.

1990-1991

- Adrienne Rich, in An Atlas of the Difficult World, Poems 1988-1991


Hearty Vegetarian Split Pea Soup and Brown Bread

Split pea

We jumped the gun a little this week at the cafe. We usually make this soup in the late winter/early spring when potatoes and carrots are in season here. The problem is that EVERYTHING  is in season during that time of year, so we tend to make vegetable-dense stews, casseroles, quiches, and salads. But it’s possible to make this tasty soup with local produce  during the fall if you substitute sweet potatoes for the potatoes and carrots. This time around, the co-op had more (organic at least) potatoes and carrots than local sweet potatoes. So we truly got a little ahead of ourselves.

It was so good though, and very nice on a cool-ish fall day with our version of beautiful, tasty, rich Heidelberg Rye – in which we substitute wheat for the rye. This is the way recipes go. Take a good idea and make it your own - honoring your own region and your own pantry by using what you got.

HEARTY SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 1/2 cups split peas
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup baby dried baby lima beans
10 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
dash pepper
2 carrots, chopped, and 2 potatoes with skins, diced
OR 4 chopped sweet potatoes

Sauté onion in oil until soft, then stir in bay leaf and celery seed. Stir in peas, barley, and limas. Add 10 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Cook on lo heat, covered, for about an hour and 20 minutes.

Add salt, pepper, and vegetables. Bring to a boil again, then turn down heat to a low simmer (slightly bubbly; the soup will thicken quite a bit and the bottom will burn if the heat is too high). Simmer another 30-40 minutes till done, thinning with additional water if necessary. 

"HEIDELBERG WHEAT," AKA BROWN BREAD
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups white flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of yeast
1/3 cup molasses
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups warm water

Combine whole wheat flour with the cocoa, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add molasses, softened butter, and water (you can soften the butter in the warm water). Mix well with a whisk. Gradually add enough white flour to make a stiff dough (you will move from whisk, to wooden spoon, to your hands). When dough is no longer very sticky, knead for 10 minutes or so, adding just enough flour to keep it from sticking to you or the table. Shape into two loave and let rise in a warm place until double in size (see our post in Ä Year in Bread for details on our quick method of bread-baking - ignore the "rapid-rise yeast;"' we use regular baking yeast). Then bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 


Somewhere still

Generations sm
Science says time is not
the line we humans sense
but it bends and folds and perhaps
happens all at once or again
someplace.

Which explains my grandparents
still in their kitchen
on an autumn morn arguing
about oatmeal as a fire
sizzles still in that woodstove 
somewhere.

And my folks waiting for my
return to Colorado
in the big house they bought
for this while they
bump down a dirt road in a sweet jeep
somehow.

And my eldest daughter stirring
in soft fleece, a warm lump
in a crib with yellow sheets,
waking with the sun,
while my first love walks
toward me in a glow of streetlamps,
still.

{photo: great-grandparents, grandmother, and granddaughters on a warm fall day once}